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Royal Canadian Navy celebrates submarine centenary in Esquimalt

Ordinary seaman Hiebert, left, and former chief petty officer Donald Brown were chosen to place a new time capsule in the updated submarine memorial cairn at Dockyard in Esquimalt. - Drew McLachlan/News staff
Ordinary seaman Hiebert, left, and former chief petty officer Donald Brown were chosen to place a new time capsule in the updated submarine memorial cairn at Dockyard in Esquimalt.
— image credit: Drew McLachlan/News staff

Members and veterans of the navy unveiled the rededication of the submarine memorial cairn at Dockyard yesterday in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of submarine service in Canada.

The cairn was first installed in 1984.

On Aug. 5, 1914, the B.C. government purchased two submarines from a Seattle shipyard, the CC 1 and CC 2, to counter the threat of a squadron of German navy warships reported on the coast.

Since the First World War, the navy has commissioned 15 submarines, with the First Canadian Submarine Squadron formed in 1965 to track Soviet submarines and collect intelligence during the Cold War.

Recently, Canadian submariners have provided support in counter-terrorism operations as well as in RCMP anti-narcotic operations in the Caribbean.

Donald Brown, who earned the rank of chief petty officer, second class before retiring, was chosen to place a new time capsule in the cairn. Brown said that as he placed the time capsule, his mind travelled to the crew he served with on HMCS Rainbow.

“Every submariners was working harder than anybody on the surface,” Brown said. “There was no limit to what you could do down there, and you knew that your work would be appreciated.”

The submarine centenary was also marked by the opening of a new submarine exhibit at CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum today.

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